Here is a simple and sensible Youtube Video Tutorial of an acoustic version of Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Chile
gratitude to the publisher
Here is a simple and sensible Youtube Video Tutorial of an acoustic version of Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Chile
gratitude to the publisher
If you like Acoustic Blues, I’d recommend that you check out this Laurence Juber Youtube Video. It’s rather soulful. You may or may not know Laurence Juber. He has a member of Paul McCartney’s Wings. One very iinteresting thing about his style is he plays fingerstyle with no nails. He is very well respected amongst agoustic guitar players and held in very high regard, I’m not surprised. Unfotrtunately I am not sure who the double bass player my apologies on this matter as it is nce to respect the contribution of all players.
Here is a link to Laurence Jubers site.
For some other Blues Guitar check out Stefan Grossman playing an acoustic blues tutorial
Don Ross is an exceptional acoustic guitar player. It’s almost politically incorrect these days to say ýou should’ but I’ll say it anyway, you should hear this guy. He use a thumbpick and fingers, lots of harmonics hammers and taps with his picking hand, he’s probably one of the most confident players I’ve heard. He’s one of the many brilliant musicians to have come out of Canada.
This song is called Michael, Michael, Michael
If you’ve been playing guitar for sometime, and don’t know these simple blues scales, I advise that you get stuck into them straight away. I’ve done the basic blues scales in five keys: C , G, D, A, and E. The fingers I’ve used are on one of many possibilities. If you are new to my site and have played blues scales before, you’ll notice I’ve used some unusual fingerings, this IS intentional. As a rule guitarists get lazy and sit and meander through scales, running fingers up and down the neck with out too much thought, that way of doing things has little to do with music and a lot to do with mechanics…I can’t stand it. These fingers are designed to make you think and feel the notes. Avoid playing like a robot. you’ll notice that the D scale is moveable, it’s more in the traditional way of playing scales and if you aren’t careful you may find yourself not thinking too much about this one.
Concentrate, turn of the television, listen to the texture of the notes. I particularly like the use of open notes in scales, they are tremendous on acoustic guitar.
Click the blue link for the Printable Version of essential blues scales for guitar
For Country Blues Scales that are usable over thousands of songs go to:
Jerry Reed is a singer guitarist and songwriter….and even an actor. He had hits with a song called Guitar Man, a song that Elvis Presley covered, as well as receiving a Grammy, recording a hit called Amos Moses. He has apperaed with the legend Chet Atkins and numerous others.
He’s a sensational country guitarist, his style is easily recognizable.
About 25years ago I went into a guitar shop to buy a Gibson 335, when I check out new guitars I’ll generally play tunes that involve playing from one end of the fretboard to another. There’s a song that was written by Stefan Grossman in the style of Jerry Reid. I played the Grossman tune and when I’d finished, the guitarman callked out from the back of the shop, play some more Jerry Reid, That’s how distunguishable his sound is.
The information that I write about on this guitar blog site is not strictly for one style or level of musicianship, it is designed to cover all styles, solo as well as accompaniment, fingerstyle as well as plectrum guitar. This tune makes me laugh… oh yes and the other player of course is… Chet.
Most guitar players have heard of Lighning Hopkins, Muddy Waters, B B King, Robert Johnson but one legendary player that may have slipped past you is Mance Lipscomb. This tune is the Classic Baby Please Don’t Go.
If you’d like to see Lightning Hopkins doing classic acoustic blues guitar go to:
I first became aware of the guitar player Kaki King when I read a Frets magazine a couple of years back, it had an article about her, in it they said she was one of the most interesting guitarists since Michael Hedges, that was enough for me to take notice. Her technique is worth watching, it’s unconventional but that’s how music forges ahead, throw the rule book out of the window. This youtube video of her is very good and the tune stands up, she’s playing an Ovation guitar. The Ovations came to the fore in the mid seventies because they were one of the best acoustics to you in a live situation. For me, this tune is a little Hedgesish (as in Michael Hedges style).
Country Guitar Scales are worth knowing, they’ll save you hours of messing around. Really they are just Minor Blues Scales starting on a different note. I’ve done them in basic TAB and music notation for guitar.
Most guitar players want shortcuts, from my experience, these scales are the greatest shortcut for improvisation and soloing that I have ever encountered. People that can’t really solo of songs suddenly find that their guitar playing opens up.
If you are new to guitar you may not realise how many years of work I’ve just saved save you by posting this article. Practice slowly, with feeling. Below I have listed the three basic chords for each of the scales, yes there are more and aso many more scales. And yes there are many more fingerings, but you know what? These work!
Chords listed below, the scales followed by 3 basic chords
C Country Scale: C D Eb E G A C
Chords : C F G
G Country Scale: G A Bb B D E G
Chords: G C D
D Country Scale: D E F F# A B D
Chords: D G A
A Country Scale: A B C C# E F# A
Chords: A D E
E Country Scale: E F# G G# B C# E
Chords: E A B
I have uploaded the printable version click the link for the acrobat reader pdf file: country_blues_scales
This site is continually updated with quality resources and inspirational material.
John Mayer is very young as a guitar player but he has already in a short period of time managed to mark his mark as a guitar player. His right hand technique is a little unusual, he plays a bit like a slap bass player at times. He seems to have taken the picking hand percussive style that John Martyn made famous in the seventies, into its next phase. No doubt he’s not the only that is doing it but he is out there in the commercial market as a pioneer of this style. Non guitarists may not quite pick up what I’m talking about but it is unusual. What fascinates me is his ability to sing as well.
I like it!
Poco – Rose of Cimarron with Eagles bass player
Poco was a band that had some brilliant musicians over the years. If you look closely at the bass player in this youtube video you’ll notice it’s none other than the Eagles bass player Timothy B Schmit, not only a bass player but has always sung tremendous harmony. Some of you may be familiar with Poco, if not think ‘musical legends’. Rusty Young, Richie Furay, Randy Meisner, Jim Messina from Loggins and Messina, Paul Cotton all passed through Poco. Mi favourite albums were Head Over Heels and Blue and Gray. I guess many people have wondered why they never had the same status as Crosby Stills Nash and Young, , Eagles or America in the seventies, their contribution was equal to any of the other acoustic country rock bands. They get my vote.
NOTE: As one kind reader pointed out, Paul Cotton and Rusty Young are still performing with Poco.
For David Crosby solo, check this youtube video of David Crosby
I’ve writen this three part Rockabilly Blues Riff because as a long term musician/ teacher and student of the guitar, I know it’s easier to be focused on developing our skills when have some short term outcomes to reach. If we work on just one thing it’s easy to forget it fast, but when we have a few things that are similar there’s more chance of being self discipled enough to commit to doing a small series of guitar exercises.
So here’s the 3rd part, it’s a 20 bar blues, yes sounds like a mad idea, you’ll see why it’s 20 bars, it works nicely. In the breaks where there’s rests, eventually you could put in some nice guitar fills, but sort out the main riffs first.
For the printable guitar and TAB notation click the link below
For the 6 part Pentatonic Guitar Scales with a difference go to:
The Guitar Player
You may not be familiar with ani diFranco. This youTube video is of Ani plaing a beautiful looking (to me) four string guitar, used to be called tipples. I first became aware of Ani deFranco’s music when she toured here, and when I saw a video of here doing ‘i’m not angry anymore’, I was sold forever.
The David Crosby Guinnevere youtube video is a follow up to my previous post about David’s song Thousand Roads which I wrote quite some time ago. This one is with Graham Nash former member of the Hollies. As stated in that post I like David Crosby’s And here’s a link to the other post of David Crosby musicality. It was one of the classic Crosby Stills and Nash songs. Notice the use of simple accompaniment that holds together. Love the harmony in this. This one will take you back in time.
And here’s a link to the David Crosby video youtube mentioned above – Thousand Roads
Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina were one of a number of successful duets around in the early seventies. I’m thinking seals and Crofts, Batdorf and Rodney, England Dan and John Ford Coley.
Loggins and Messina had some excellent albums in their day such as Full Sail, Sittin In, Motherlode. I was very interested to find this 1972 youtube, it’s raw and it was even a bit of a hit in it’s day. So for nostalgic reasons I’ve posted about it. They had some very beautiful guitar work in songs like Watching the River Run.
So here’s The House at Pooh Corner, remember this is 36 years ago.
Rockabilly Blues for Guitar is the second of my three part TAB and Music Notation design to get the fingers going and get you playing a few riffs that you would never have played. They will sound familiar because I’ve written them around standard chord patterns and riffs. you’ll notice a few twists. A great way of learning is to play something that is within your ability but also have a small part that will push you a little. What is comfortable for one player is not so easy for another. It’s good to get your fingers into new positions that you wouldn’t come up with yourself, this helps you to break old habits.
OK, lets have a look at this. The second bar starts to mirror bar 1 but goes up an octave.
Bars 3 and 4 are just repeats.
When we go up to the C chord in bar 5, we start moving up and then back down in bar 6.
Bar 7 and 8 are repeats of 1 and 2
Bar 9 is a similar riff to bar 1 but playing of the D chord
Bar 10 is exactly the same as bar 9 but down a whole tone.
Bar 11 bar is similar to bar 1 but goes up to the G note. Cut that note short
Bar 12 has the turnaround D7th chord but NOTE: it cmes in on beat 2 and a half ( count 1 and 2 and)
This Rockabilly Blues is very usable if you play it in time and with feeling.
Click the link for the printable version of rockabilly_blues_in_g_part_2
Here is the link for Part 1 Rockabilly Blues Guitar
Part 3 is coming soon as I write it, within the next 4 days
This youtube features David Crosby. Crosby, the first name in the awesome band Crosby, Stills, Nash and later on, Young. He may not have had the same success solo as did Neil Young, but it was his solo stuff and material with Graham Nash that I always was most fascinated by. His voice and his open tuning guitar wer a perfect combination. David Crosby was a former member of the Byrds, think ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ and ‘Hey Mr Tambourine Man’ , he band also included Gene Clark and Roger McGuinn. The harmonies of the Byrds and later on CSN set the standard for other bands, who could forget their version of Woodstock and Wooden Ships. It would be correct to say I love this guys musicality and if you aren’t aware of his solo material check him out.
Note: David Crosby and his buddies would often use open tunied guitars.
Here is his Official Website – David Crosby
This David Crosby youtube is called A Thousand Roads
I’ll continue to post articles, guitar hints, approaces to glearning guitar, TAB, guitar notation and youtubes on a regular basis.
The Rockabilly Blues that I have written the Guitar Tab and Music Notation for is the first of a series of three. Once you get this one worked out play it fast but make sure it is in time. It will roll off your fingers in no time.
It’s important as a guitar player to be able to play lots of variations of simple riffs over common chord patterns. By doing this it wil help you become a strong improviser and after some time it will be easy to go from guitar accompaniment directly into a solo in a seamless manner. Often as a guitar player you’ll find yourself in a situation where thee are a number of guitar players playing at once. Someone is always going to go for the straight rhythm guitar and sure enough, a few others will want to solo over the top of everything. So the ability to be able to play melodic parts to accompany a piece of music is very useful and a lot of other players often won’t even consider doing it.
Parts two and three will be a little more complex. I will upload these within the next couple of days, come back and give them a try.
The printable version is available to download, the following link will open the acrobat reader pdf file rockabilly_blues_in_g_part_1
I first heard Dan Fogelberg around the time that Souvenirs came out. In fact one of my all time favourite songs is Wysteria of the Homefree album
If you want to do the Acoustic Guitar Singer Songwriter thing, thisis how to do it. A poem, a story a ballad, a simple melody and a guitar part that stands up by itself, hamer ons, simple chords and and a straight forward finger picking hand. Dan Fogelbergs death was a loss to the musical community. But the beauty of the technology we have is it’s ability to capture and freeze time.
A sentimental tune and it was great that he was successful with it because many people would have got to hear a lot of his other music. If you are not aware of Dan Fogelbergs music, explore his first few albums. This guy is good and as a singer songwriter it’s the level to aspire to.
James Taylor playing Fire and Rain, his flawless fingerpicking on an Olsen guitar is a reminder how a well written song can stand up over time. This acoustic guitar recording is about ten years old now. Gone is the hair, and the face is a little older but the silky tenor voice still has a gorgeous texture.
The second version is closer to original recording time. It’s a wonderful trip down memory lane.
I’ve posted two versions on my guitar blog site so you can make a comparison.
It’s a reminder to us all how music is not necessarily something that we do for a little while, once we can play it can be with us our whole life. The need for us all to express emotions is an essential part of living a healthy emotional life.
Acoustic Twelve Bar Blues in A is a simple guitar lesson I wrote tonight. It’s called the Daily Lama Blues, please excuse my play on words, it just seemed topical. It’s a basic twelve bar chord pattern that you could play with a pick or fingerstyle. Yesterday I posted about a Keith Richard (from the Rolling Stones) acoustic blues and it inspired me to write a Blues Guitar tune that could easily be built upon and turned into a piece of music that would easily stand up as a tune in any blues repertoire. Like everything I do on my sites, it is copyrighted by default.
This blues should be played at a slow pace. You could use a straight sort of A minor Blues scale but if you want something more interesting, have a look through this guitar blog site or my other one at the-guitarplayer.com and you’ll find things that will get you out of those boring old patterns.
Here is the TAB and Guitar Music Notation
To download the printable Guitar Blues Arrangement in the Key of A in TAB and Music Notation click the link
Keith Richards playing acoustic Blues guitar. If you are a Rolling Stones fan you’ve got to see this youtube video of ‘Keef’ playing acoustic guitar in the key of A, 32 20 Blues, Robert Johnson style. Complete with ‘tude and ‘ciggie’ hangin’ out of mouth. I love the tone of the old Gibson guitar.
In fact, even iof you don’t like the Stones, if you play guitar, check it out
Joni Mitchell is one of the truly great acoustic guitar innovators. A lot of people that aren’t guitar addicts may not realize how great she is and would just see her as a good songwriter, poet and singer. Don’t be fooled by those labels, her contribution to open tuned acoustic guitar is almost unparalleled. Others such as Davey Graham, Michael Hedges, Pierre Bensusan, Alex De Grassi and others made massive contributions to this artform that has pushed the guitar into new areas but Joni Mitchells work really neds to be explored by guitar players, her relaxed style, her throwing out the rule book, unconvential strumming/picking hand. And the amount of open tunings she used to create a backdrop for her musical poetry. I was fortunate enought o see her live, wow.
Don’t be fooled, she is extraordinary. The song is Night Ride Home
in this song she’s playing a semi-acoustic. The song is Edith and the Kingpin
Note Pat Metheny in the background. Here is a link to Pat Metheny on a Linda Manzer Baritone Acoustic Guitar. PAT METHENY
Acoustic guitar can be made easy and here’s two fantastic tips that you probably wouldn’t have considered.
Do you ever have the problem that when you haven’t played acoustic guitar for a while or when you’ve bought a new guitar, it’s not that easy to play; holding down the strings seems almost impossible and you get frustrated an almost give up?
Here’s a solution that I know works, I’ve tried it, so have many friends that I have told about it.
I’m a practical person, and being practical I often end up with good results. This a time can mean being at odds with what the so called ‘experts’ say. When you buy a new acoustic guitar and you’re a bit green/ new to things , you may end up with a great sounding instrument. It sounded great in the shop when the salesman played it, you thought, well he’s good, he knows what he’s talking about, so you take his advice. Good or bad you take it anyway. He knows, you don’t. Many of the guitar salemen that I have met have no idea about beginning guitar, or they forgot what it was like, ‘they suffered, you must suffer’.
The goal of every guitarist is to play music. ( Well maybe not, one guy asked in my Online Guitar Survey, “Is it a chic magnet”. I haven’t yet answered, but it made me laugh and I do have an answer but will not due to the abuse that I would get from the female community.) Oh..back on track, the sooner we make music the better. So what you need is your guitar set up so it’s easier to play. Is that logical? Yes. Well here are simple things that you can do to make it easier, regardless what the salesman says. And it’s so simple that it’s ridiculous and I have no idea why othr teachers don’t recommend it.
1). Use Extra Light strings. Many players say to use Mediums and Lights…”hey man you’ll get a better tone”. Sure this is true but if you can’t hold the strings down, there’s NO TONE. Start off with Extra Light strings and over a period of months or years, gradually move to heavier ones if it REALLY seems necessary.
2) . Tune the guitar down a semi-tone to E Flat ( Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb, note the little b = flat = one note lower). This works for me really well also because my voice is pitched to sing a lot of songs in G flat instead of G and E flat Minor instead of E Minor. The benefit will be that it takes a bit of tension out of the strings and you’ll be playing a lot faster and with greater ease than struggling Yes you’ll lose a fraction of volume but hey, the end result needs to be about YOU playing music and getting the enjoyment from it. To get around the tuning issues of playing with other players or recordings, just use a Capo at fret one. I like the Shubbs, I can keep my guitars in tune better with them. http://www.shubb.com/capos/index.htm NOTE: One of the other sites will gladly sell you one, or duck down to your local music store and support them. This technique of tuning down is common amongst a lot of twelve string players, the reason is obvious!
The other ones that a lot of great players use are the Kaysers. They are my personal second choice.
You’ve got to be prepared to throw a lot of traditions and accidentally made norms out the window if you want to become your OWN musician; find ways to fast track what you are doing, eliminate the unnecessary junk and focus on things like having good timing, a good ear, fluency in your playing, sensitivity, dynamics.
When using lighter strings and tuning down a semi-tone you may need to have a minor neck adjustment done to your guitar. Always go to someone that is really a specialist.
These two ideas really work, I know from personal experience and that’s the only thing that matters for me.
Ok, go ahead do the survey, I don’t want any more questions like ‘Is it a Chic Magnet” 🙂
Well here’s a simple solution that could easily fix that problem once and for all.
Generally in rock or jazz, most players will play just straight up and down the fretboard and not use the open strings. That way of playing is great, learn it, use it when necessarily but here’s another way that I sorted that could be very valuable to you.
What I’ve used in the following guitar fretboard exercise lesson is a rather simple idea, but it works beautifully in helping you develop a smooth guitar fretting hand technique. I’ve taken a plain old C major scale that you’ve heard for years and maybe already can play. Instead of the standard way of playing everything in the Fist position (First Fret = First Finger), running out of notes and jumping to the Fifth fret, what I’ve done is jumped to the Fifth fret before I’ve run out of notes. I play the F note at the Sixth fret with my second finger. When I play the high E string, it gives me a moment to release my hand and relocate it at the Fifth Position (Fifth Fret = First Finger) . This will give you a bit of breathing space and help you become a much more fluent player.
If you don’t already play this way because you never considered it, I guarantee it will be of great use to you.
Breaking the old guitar habits is good for you.
I’ve uploaded the TAB and notation. Click the Link to Download the Free TAB and Notation version:
This site is updated regularly with information for guitar players of all styles an levels.
The Country Guitar Scale as I mentioned in my previous Country Guitar Scale article is none other than an F# Minor Blues scale starting on A. Because there is a relationship between F sharp minor and the key of A major it works beautifully.
Try using a standard chord pattern like A F#m D E7, one bar for each and see how thie scale fits.
I’ve started the scale on A, wheras in my previous article I started on the F sharp. The descending part has a variation in it to make it more interesting than the the standard up down scales that make guitar players dizzy and turn them into great scale players but lousy musicians.
To download the printable version (adobe acrobat format) click on the following link: a_country_scale1
This site is updated on a regular basis with youtubes, scales and helpful guitar info
Also, for other great scales and guitar info go to my other site
My first encounter with the music of David Wilcox was when I read an Acoustic Guitar Magazine in the early 90’s. A few years later when they named the top 10 acoustic guitar albums, his album ‘How Did You Find Me Here’ was included in the list. I’m not surprised. David Wilcox plays mainly open tunings, he also uses capo’s and half capos. His technique is very smooth and relaxed and it’s not until you try and play his music that you realise how good he is. As far as I am concerned, David would have to be one of the best singer songwriters on the planet. I was fortunate enough on the day I was looking for his music in the 90’s to find two of his albums in the shops, as I live in Australia, this is a little odd. I have never sen his music in the shops here since.
I’ve posted information about him because I know that there are many people that wish to play guitar and sing. David Wilcox is a perfect example of how we can express music with one guitar and one voice. He’s a master songwriter with a perfect voice.
Country Guitar Scales are the same as Blues Guitar Scales.
If you are playing a country or folk song on guitar in the key of A, the chances are you would be using the chords A. D and E. Yes there are a lot of other chords you could use as well but I thought it best to keep it as simple as possible, then develop from there. If you were to use the A Blues scale, it would sound OK in a blues but would sound very awkward in country or folk. So here’s a great alternative.
What I and many other players would use would be an F# minor Blues Scale, (# = sharp) . Thee is a relationship between F# minor and A major, in the same way that there is a relationship between E minor and G.
Play the following scale slowly, record a backing track of a dozen or so bars of simple chord patterns using A D and E and you’ll se how it fits. If you’ve never used this scale in this way before I’m confident it will open new doorways for you for improvisation. I’ll guarantee it will take you to the next phase of your playing when this ‘penny drops’. I will be doing a number of variations on this scale to make it a bit more musical, and that’s it isn’t it, make better music.
For the printable pdf file Click a_country_scale in pdf format
Gordon Giltrap recorded an excellent album in the seventies (1977) . At the time, my memory tells me he was playing Flyde guitars, a guitar company that made a lot of unique instrument. If you haven’t heard him and you like beautiful guitar playing I suggest you watch this youTube. It’s called Mrs Singers Waltz, and I guess if ever a contemporary tune sounded romantic, this is it. Complete with a couple waltzing.
I heard that Gordon had recently been playing guitar with the great Scottish guitarist martin Taylor… my mind boggled at the idea of these two guys teaming up. Especially when they were both favourites of mine in their respective styles.
Being able to play great solo guitar for me is much more satisfying than playing guitar solos, bith are valid. Although there are strings in this tune it would still stand up as a solo piece. It’s a wonderful thing to watch all these players play after enjoying their music 30 years ago and they just get better, more musical and are a great inspiration to us all as we seek out our own musical personalities.
Gorgeous guitar playing
Acoustic guitar players in the seventies often played a lot of musical cliches, no problem really, it is really common to all styles. I’ve written a reasonably simple chord pattern with a descending bass part. Whenm you play it you’ll say, oh where have I heard that? The answer is everywhere.
The first bar is a standard sort of pattern built around a D major chord, after playing the D chord then the bass notes step down on the A string (fifth string). You’ll notice I’ve included the left hand fingering in the Guitar TAB.
Then in the second bar we play a G chord and step down a couple of frets ans on the last beat we play an A7th chord to lead us back to the D chord.
Here’s why you need to learn the basic stuff. It will help you develop your ears, when you play with others you will automicaly run on auto because you’ll HEAR the chord changes, this will free you up to be creative and musical. A lot of players are in a hurry to play technical things and miss the foundations. Be aware of that issue, if you want to be good player, take your time, get a good understanding of everything.
The printable version in TAB and Music Notation is available, this is free, no strings attached (joke huh) d_chord-bass_parts
I also have another guitar blog with great resources for acoustic and electric guitar at the-guitarplayer.com
To aid in the development of this site please spend 2 minutes and do the survey. Here is the Guitar Survey link
Steven Baughman is a magnificentopen tuning fingerstyle guitar player. I first heard of himabout 8 years ago when I was playing Celtic style guitar and from memory Pierre Bensusan had mentioned how good he was, so I followed through on therecommendation.
Traditional Celtic tunes are not only beautiful to listen to but as a player they give you a lot back in return for your efforts, regardless how old they often are, there is always something new to be found in them. I recommend if you plan on learning any of the Celtic tunes, see if you can get to hear a vocal version, this may help you interpret them. The third song is very humorous in its execution in this song check out the rhytmic texture created by his right hand, also watch Steve’s left hand very closely in the first two songs. A lot of players try this style, Steve Baughman does it better than most.
If you are a regular reader of my guitar blog you would already know that John Renbourn and Stefan Grossman are two of my all time acoustic guitar favorite players, if you have not heard of themm you are in for a treat. I’ve posted this youtube guitar duet of them because it is a fascinating setting to find them in, we have John Renbourn the great British fingerstyle player who plays Baroque and other old music coupled with the excellent American fingerstyle blues / folk player/historian and they are playing the beautiful jazz tune by Thelonius monk on acoustic guitars, both improvising very passionately… it doesn’t come any better. If you like music wih heart and gentle passion you’ll feel this one.
Guitar duets…the only thing more beautiful than one guitar
NOTE: The above mentioned video has been deleted from youtube
Here is Pork Pie Hat
It’s humbling to hear these guys play guitar, a lesson to us all
How to play Guitar chords for acoustic guitar. In the seventies there were a lot of acoustic guitar duos and bands. I have decided to post a a few chord patterns that have a sort of seventies sound for the next few posts.
This first exercise that I made up starts on a D major chord , then it moves up the fretboard to a D minor Seventh, from there it goes to a G and back to the D minor 7. That movement from Major to Minor is very sweet.
The next 4 bar are a D chord, followed by a C with a D bass C/D, then it goes to a D again but it is played up at fret 5 and returns back to the C/D.
The final four bars are starting on a D minor 7, moving to a G, then a C and back to a D. It’s a good idea to learn to train your ears to hear chord changes, don’t just play them, listen.
Some of the interesting duos and bands of the seventies were Batdorf and Rodney, Seals and Crofts, Tufano and Giammarise. Cecilio and Kapono, England Dan and John Ford Coley, many may not realise it that Hall and Oates were very acoustic on the album Abandoned Luncheonette album, Loggins and Messina, Aztec Two Step, and years later Buskin and Batteau.
Work through the chords and play them with another player using straighter chords. The use of these type of chords will also give you an open tuning sort of sound.
NOTE: you could also drop your bottom E string a whole tone down to D. Enjoy!
To Download the printable version click the link d_chord_exercise
You may be familiar with Stefan Grossman from the many guitar instruction videos and books. One of my all time favourite guitar albums is called Thunder on the Run and I particularly like Stefan Grossman and John Renbourn playing duets together. Stefan has also done brilliant work with Duck Baker.
Apart from being a guitar historian and teacher, Stefan is a magnificent guitar player who gets a beautiful tone from his instrument, Franklin guitar.
In this Tutorial stefan is showing how to play a simple blues in E. There are many musical cliches in this but the way they are executed is what seperates Stefan out from the bunch.
Note how he uses the repeatative alternating bass part, also take a close look at the outro and how hie finishes on the E7#9 chord.
Eric Bibb plays a mix of Blues Folk gospel acoustic guitar. If you haven’t heard him play I highly recommend you have a listen. His guitar playing is very smooth, in fact he’s one of those players who plays just what’s needed, he doesn’t over play. Eric has a very good voice that works beautifully with his guitar playing. This song ‘In my Fathers House’ has a very strong rhythmical fingerstyle picking part.
A few months back I woke up one Sunday morning and had a techie problem witha web site, I spent a few hours trying to sort it. After this period of time I decided to call it quits for the day, by this time I was very frustrated. I wandered downtstairs, put on Eric Bibbs Diamond Days album. Within a few minutes of listening, I found myself in great spirits.
Here is the link to his website. ERIC BIBB OFFICIAL SITE
Have a listen to the Eric Bibb – In my Fathers House youTube Video
Have you ever been to see someone play music and it seemed like they’ve played what sounded like almost the same song all night? Sound familiar?
So how to get around this? If you are new to performing you may not even realize that you are doing something a bit like that. As many players want to get out of the practice room and into the public arena, it’s worthwhile thinking about the songs that you play, not just whether you like them but whether there;’s a good balance in what you do.
Now ladies and gentleman, here’s blues ballad number Seventy Three for the evening.
No matter how good you are, or think you are, boring is boring. So here’s a few ideas to get you thinking clearly.
If you have given it your best shot, tried your best and followed the above, if people aren’t happy at the end of this…they may never be happy and this is not your problem.
OK, when I sat down at my computer I had planned to post about something else but we ended up with this and it’s vvery useful…you don’t necessarily have to follow the above but at least it will get you thinking.
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An interesting thing I’ve found out is very few players that have responded to my survey subscribe to guitar magazines. Maybe it’s the thrill of finding it in the news stand
I first became aware of the Scott Nygaard on a Tim O’brien album and then gradually started to see his name appear in acoustic Guitar magazine, a magazine that I consider to be essential reading for acoustic guitar players. http://acousticguitar.com
This is a good tutorial. Scott is a very good player, if you want to hear him in full flight, check out the song Senor on the Tim O’brien album. In full flight he’s as good as anybody and has a very clear tone. In this tute he’s using a small bodied guitar. What I highly recommend is that you learn the fretboard properly, this is a prerequisite for learning and playing properly.
Alternating picking = down up down up picking
Circle of 5ths = E to A to d to D to G to C etc
Arpeggio = a chord broken up and each note played individually,
Pentatonic = 5 note scale,
Chromatic = one step (note) up or down
3rds = the 3rd note of a scale C D E F G A B C, in this case E
I originally was looking for a Scott Nygaard youtube to write about because I like his playing and felt that it would be to guitar players benefit to hear him and I found this tutorial. For more information about Scott Nygaard go to Scott Nygaard you will find information about his projects and albums there.
For years now I’ve been a lover of both Indian music and the blues. Due to my studies with the Sarod player Ashok Roy I have played quite a few instrumentals in open tuning, I used to use the tuning B, F# , B , F#, B and E working from the Bass up, the bottom end of the guitar was tuned quite low. I found it very interesting playing in this tuning. My teacher used to sing the parts to me, I’d sing them back, then I’d transcribe it in the Indian notation and then play it back.
I first heard of Harry Manx a few years ago when he toured my local area. What I like about he is he has bridged the gap between Western and Indian music quite well. he plays the Mohan Vina, an instrument played by the musician Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. The vina is a traditional Indian instrument in a similar vain to the sitar. I feel it is important to see what some of the musicians are doing that are playing a little outside the norm because when we hear new things they can create new possiblilities for other players. I’ve linked to two youtube videos of Harry Manx the Canadian player, one is blues slide and the other a mix of Indian and blues.
Can’t be Satisfied
How comfortable does he look playing?
The aim of this blog site is to inspire guitar players.
Early today I was writing a Blues Variation Scale for my other guitar blog and I thought it would be a good idea to write a very simple Blues In G for Acoustic Guitar because the other blues I wrote was more of a scale variation than a song. My humour got the better of me when I went to name it and I could help calling it ‘G String Blues’ . This blues doesn’t use any full chords but uses parts of chords. I find this way of playing chords can open up a guitarists playing. It’s built around a standard Minir Blues scale that consists of the notes G, B flat, C , D flat, D, F, G, it deviates out of that on a couple of occassions over the C7 chord and also over the D7 chord. This way the chords are ‘IMPLIED’ , not actually played but hinted at, this helps create a little tension and release.
For those that aren’t readers of music dots, don’t be too concerned, just note that the first chord of the G7 bar is held for one whole beat and from then they are half beats. e.g. count 1 2 and 3 and 4 and.
As I have stated, this is a simple blues but it can be built upon and would make a very nice jazz blues, try to vary the melody a little once you get it in time.
To download a printable version, click on the link g_string_blues3
The song yesterday by Paul McCartney is an all time acoustic classic. It is very melancholy and is one of those songs that if you were around at the time when it was popular would somehow stop you in your tracks and make you think a little seriously. The youTube video of Yesterday starts of mainly showing Paul mcCartney singer but as the song goes on, the guitar part is shown. It is a classic song that millions of guitar players have played over the last 40 years.
Enjoy the youTube video of Yesterday
Jimi Hendrix is primarily known as an Electric Guitar Player, and a brilliant one of that.
I think it’s important to hear guitar players without the electronics, unplugged before being unplugged was fashionable. So here’s a youTube of Jimi Hendrix playing his acoustic blues on 12 string guitar. I’ve loved it since I first heard it in the early seventies and it dfinitely stands the test of time.
Enjoy the Jimi Hendrix acoustic guitar video on youTube
Most electric guitarists that have grown up playing rock guitar want the volume control to go up to eleven, not ten.
So in keeping with that philosophy I thought I’d write eleven useful tips to help beginners that are learning guitar.
1. Always make sure your guitar is in tune. An in tune instrument will help you develop a good ear. Being in tune is easy these days because guitar tunes are cheap and they take the pain out of tuning.
2. Always relax when you play. Relax your hands but sit in a position with your spine reasonably straight.
3. Practice somewhere where your mistakes and repetition will not annoy others.
4. Don’t take criticism to heart. When you are starting out, people can be a little careless with their comments.
5. Practice something new each day, whether it be a new chord, a new melody.
6. When you start practicing, start slowly and begin with the easiest things first.
7. If you start to get frustrated. Take a bit of time out and maybe practice something else.
8. Gradually train your ear to recognise different chord types. Start with the basic Majors, Minors and Sevenths.
9. Playing in time is better than playing fast. Eventually you will be able to play very fast.
10. Learn to play different styles. There’s joy to be found in all music genres and you’ll end up a far better musician/guitarist.
11. Always finish your practice by playing something that you know reasonably well. It’s important to close your music session and walk away from it in a good state of mind. If you finish on a half played piece, you may feel a bit uninspired.
Many people are not aware of the great guitar player that influenced so many guitar players, Michael Hedges died in a car accident in 1993, he was 43 years old. He played open tuning guitar, what this means to the uninitiate is that the guitar was tuned differently. This guy is unbelievable. Be patient with this, he does his intro tune up and then. Personall I think he reinvented the acoustic guitar. He’s quite young in this video.
Enjoy the Michael Hedges youtube video
Doc Watson the blind acoustic bluegrass guitar player is by far one of the greatest players in his style. What has surprised me a lot over the years, is that many people I have encountered thought he was a black blues player. I have added this youtube video of Doc Watson because many people haven’t heard him play. The song Black Mountain Rag is a classic. For those that are interested in harmony and counterpoint, have alisten to the way the guitars start working together at about 2.27 and also the upping the tempo at about 3.04.
Brilliant. Doc’s contribution to the development of the acoustic guitar playing has been great, he has influenced many players. I think what has surprised me also is the stiffness of his right arm, slightly unusual
Enjoy the Doc Watson youtube video of Black Mountain Rag
Russ Barenberg is definetly one of the cleanest sounding acoustic guitar players around. If you want to help mke your playing smoother, one of the best things to use for developing fluency is to learn a number of old bluegrass tunes. Although playing scales is useful, learning to play some of the old Irish and Bluegrass tunes is definitely a way to practice, up your technique a little and at the same time it will help you develop an ear for melody as well. Jerry Douglas is by far my most favourite Dobro player.
I will continue to post youtube videos of great acoustic guitar players. I also have some tremendous ones at www.the-guitarplayer.com
Enjoy the Russbarenburg and Jerry Douglas youTube video
Here’s a video of the very brilliant Dan Crary flapicking a medley of songs. I first became aware of Dan Crary about 30 years ago when he used to write for Guitar Player magazine. I have worked in bands where I’ve had to play that second tune of the medley. I never thought of playing it at that speed though.
Enjoy the Dan Crary youtube video
Flawless guitar techniques are things that I have always appreciated. Regardless of style, credit always needs to be given where it’s due. I’ve been listening to Tony Rice the Bluegrass player for almost 30 years now. He’s one of the players that have taken bluegrass into new areas.
It also includes a tutorial where the song is analysed by his brother Wyatt. This is really worth watching. Although the structure is simple there’s plenty in there.
Enjoy the Tony Rice youTube video
Plectrum guitar at its best.
My son was walking around the house saying ‘hippy…hip…eeze, hippies…hippies, you’re all hippies’, shaking his head in disgust and disapproval. My daughter, became enlightened at about age three and fully understands compassion, caring for others and the world around us.
My son was watching Joe Dirt, a ridiculous movie with an actor that had the best/worst mullet I’ve ever seen and the dilemma was it fiinshed at 8.30 wheras Earth Hour, or Hippy Hour as my son would call it started at 8.
One hour no electricity, no gizmos, no gadgets, lights out, a challenge to say the least. My wife was clear that we need to do such a thing. I had a strong argument against it, so I thought, not that I didn’t care. I knew the ‘Truth’, the hidden truth and I started rambling on about free energy invented by Tesla and other patents owned by the power mongers. At that point my daughter said, “Dad no conspiracy theories”. I said, “they are not theories”. She said, “I don’t care, we are doing it anyway”.
To fill you in I have always been cautious of the world around me, and was so mad and extreme at certain times in my life that I never even picked flowers for 32 years because I didn’t want to hurt them. Well not quite true, I had read a book by D T Suzuki on Zen, and he pointed out the difference between the Western mind and Eastern mind. He said that in the West we pick the flower and put in a vase and say ‘how beautiful’ and in the East they watch it grow in the garden and let it live out its life there. He used an example of two famous poets, I think Yeates and Basho.
Being an acoustic guitarist there was a simple solution, if need be I could play guitar for an hour, no amp required, no PA just the sweet sounds of an unplugged guitar.
The hour was getting closer, my wife starting running a bath and I was calling out to her that she would use more power running the hot water system than we would just leaving the lights and other gadgets on. To no avail, she had her Self Development mp3’s on her ipod ready. “Oh by the way, the ipod uses voltage that came from the computer that was plugged into a power point, you’re cheating”. The door closed the candles were being lit. The lights went out, my son and I were running around the house looking for one of his Motoxcross mags. It’s interesting how little light a candle puts out when you ar looking for an object. He cheated twice, he flicked a light on and off, environmental sacrilege, but still didn’t find it.
I’m not sure what came over me but it only took about three minutes before I was sneaking around the house making ghost noises ‘woooo, woooo,’ and scratching my finger nails down the doors create a creepy effect. A voice came from the bathroom…quiet. The poltegeist had to retire.
Oh no, my son opened the fridge door, it was still on, quick turn it off, no we can’t, the food will thaw. We pretended it never happened, he was hungry, he hadn’t eaten for 23 minutes and it was urgent.
Meanwhile my daughter was revving up her ipod for what I assumewd would be an hour of head bobbing and foot tapping in the dark. What I hadn’t realised was that she had set it up for me to listen to her favourite tunes. She played me a couple of songs by Angus and Julia Stone, very acoustic, very nice and I made an agreement with her to teach her the tunes, there’s only a couple of chords but it’s nice material. Another tune I liked was by Via Audio, it reminded me of Prefab Sprout and Everything but the Girl, very musical, sort of light Indie pop, but I liked their harmonies and they don’t rely on volume to create sound. After a while my wife emerged from ‘deep space’, she said something that I couldn’t hear but I assumed it was ‘what are you doin’, right at the moment I was repeating the words of the song ‘ I’m wasted’, ‘I’m so wasted’…she wandered off up the hallway into the dark looking very puzzled.
It was almost time, an hour was up, we opened the curtains, I went onto the balcony to watch all the pretty lights come on, I was ready to shout “HAPPY ELECTRICITY” as the neighbourhood lit up, but alas, 9 o’clock went by and not a flicker; a few blue lights shining through the windows, the teles were on.
Just then it happened, my son picked up an acoustic guitar and starting playing the riff to Black Sabbath Iron Man, I hadn’t listened to it since 1973, well I may have but I would have probably filtered it out.. I couldn’t help myself, I ran to the kitchen, picked up the broom turned it upside down to use as a mike stand, there I was channeling Ozzy Osbourne, “Has he lost his mind, can he see or is he blind, is he live or dead, has he thoughts within his head.”
I can’t wait for the next one. Are other houses like mine?
When we are young musicians we often have our sites set on bright lights, touring, albums and all the other hoohaa that happens in the music industry. But as we mature as musicians we start to see the other sides of music, the joy of playing, the challenge of playing different styles and the various other places where music is used in the world around us. E.g. Commercially, in the Arts, short films and these days in multimedia projects. We don’t have to look too hard to find an application/use for music.
A few years ago I worked on a project, it ended up I had one evening to compose, record, edit and complete one such piece of music. As I own the copyright on the piece I have decided to post the piece of music here.
Basically I am a guitarist foremost but like many musicians these days it is possible to use technology to create and complete a whole project in a small studio environment. On the recording I played all parts, excluding the use of a drum machine, and I wil state I am not a keyboard player but my knowledge of chords through studying music, enables me to play what is required to have a complete piece of music.
Like most musicians I recorded the drum track first and built the song from there. it was followed by the guitar part which is reasonably minimalistic. Throughout the piece I double the guitar part with a harmony on keyboard to fatten up the sound of the guitar.
As I play multiple styles of music, it has enabled me to work on some fascinating projects over the years. No flashing lights and big PA’s here, just a love of music and a challenge to meet an outcome. It was commissioned for a small Arts film.
It is very laid back and sort of chilly. It’s called Walk Ins
To hear it click on the link, it’s about 4 MB. http://www.the-acoustic-guitar.com/downloads/walk_ins.mp3
Playing solo guitar is not only one of the most enjoyable ways of playing the guitar but as anyone that has played guitar for a while would know, it is probably the most demanding. The reason being is that there is nowhere to hide. The guitar player needs to play something that holds together from the beginning to the end, keeps the interest of the listener, stays in time and needs to manage to play a combination of moving parts such as chords, melodies and counter melodies similtaneously. The classical guitarists manage to do this quite well and now have a massive repertoire of material to choose from. But most others need to make it up themselves or create arrangements of songs.
In 1983 I was living in the hills and listening to a lot of acoustic instrumental guitarists and I wrote a number of songs. At that time I was experimenting a lot with open-tuned guitars. One tune I wrote was with a simple Dropped bottom D, the Bass E string tuned down a whole tone. A few years ago I decided to do I recording of the tune. The original idea was to have a second guitar part improvising over the mid section But I felt because this guitar blog/site is about guitar education I’d upload the song without the over dub, warts and all.
The tune is a very reflective piece, I’d been travelling around Asia for quite some time and needed to settle in a place where there was a lot of trees e.g. forrest, a stream and plenty of clean air. I played it on a guitar I built myself and it was recorded direct via a Dana Bourgeous internal pickup system.
Here is the link to it http://www.the-acoustic-guitar.com/downloads/dropped_D_folk_jazz_blues.mp3
It’s an MP3 file almost 4 MB. You’ll need a reasonably fast Internet connection to download it quickly.
I always like seeing buskers on the street, a city or town is missing so much if they don’t allow busking. Buskers add a pulse to a town. They are often raw, but you’ll find an honesty in the rawness, and we are getting it in real-time, it’s not overproduced; and yes maybe a little off the mark with its musicality at times but guitar players need a platform that is in a public place to express themselves while they are developing their craft.
What you’ll notice if you look carefully at street musicians if they are soloists, they may or may not have the ability to keep time. As a rule, I prefer music to be in time, but as a soloist it is possible to take liberties with the beat; you can’t do this when playing with other musicians, it’s the glue that holds it together. What I have also noticed is that if a guitarist is self taught and rarely played with other musicians they could easily fall into the trap of not knowing how to play in time at all. This in the long term will work against them. As you mature as a musician, you find yourself wanting to work with other musicians that will enhance your sound.
What I recommend is if you have been working alone for a long time, it’s a good idea to get hold of some sort of drum machine, ‘musical sounding’ audio files for the computer, assuming you are computer literate or some type of backing tracks and work with them for a while, these can help you develop a natural rhythm.
Every now and then, I get the opportunity to work with different people, some have tremendous voices or with other great skills but often it’s their timing that lets them down. Your timing should get to the point where you can stop playing for a few bars and then automatically come in on time at the precise place.
Guitarists often doodle around a bit and waste time. Be focused, set your self a plan of what to work on and then do t.
Don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you are having a few difficulties with timing and we can look at a way of sorting it.